June 21, 2016 10:54 am
This may be hard to believe, but this picture probably goes as far as one possibly could in encompassing our time on the Gili Islands in Bali, Indonesia. Random, hilarious, hard to explain… yes, yes, and yes. Entirely normal occurrences on the mad party island off of Bali, Gili Trawagan.
We spent about a week here, shortly after reuniting after our first stint travelling apart for a month. Life was good and we were looking forward to enjoying the beach life on Gili which is undeniably great. As the main strip (basically the only road full stop) has the beach in front of it and the majority of the accommodation directly behind, everything you could possibly need is literally within a ten minute radius. The island is also vehicle-free, with transport only available in the form of horse and cart. We managed to get a large room with a balcony for a couple of pounds each a night, with our friends sharing one directly below. Food was great – pizza and BBQ extravaganzas for next to nothing, so for another Southeast Asian party island, this one was already coming out pretty on top. And then there was the nightlife. Oh, the nightlife.
A key component to our nights on the razz in Indonesia was our new best mate, Joss. Not a fun-loving party girl, no, but a curious powder which when poured into a vodka and lemonade fizzed into a luminous yellow froth of a drink. This all sounds increasingly suspicious I’m sure, but in fact this party powder is entirely legal in Indonesia – it’s basically a more potent form of Red Bull. Joss made your drinks sweet and your lethargic beach temperament quickly evolve into that of a particularly lively four year-old child. After eating three packets of Skittles. Yeah, that intense.
I’d been adding Joss to my drinks like mint to a mojito for a week or two by this point, and couldn’t wait to introduce Tom to it. We had a great few nights playing games with friends before heading out, accompanied by Joss, and found our lackadaisical attitude towards another night out in Gili transformed into immeasurable excitement and energy. Gili T works on a kind of rotary basis when it comes to the bars, with the largest few taking it in turns to host the main night on each night of the week. Sama Sama, a good-times-only reggae bar was our favourite, and we’d head out as things were getting busy and join the party. But for us, the party nearly always seemed to occur on the journey from A to B. The locals on Gili T literally made the party – they are some of the maddest, hilarious and friendly people we had the joy to meet in Southeast Asia. Every encounter seemed to make a lasting impression, and every ‘Where you from?’ shouted across a street turned into a budding acquaintance for the rest of our stay.
Perhaps it was meant to be when everyone we introduced ourselves to on the island just COULD NOT pronounce Rosie. I was to be forever known, on this island at least, as ‘Crazy’. The nearest pronunciation available it seemed, or perhaps just adequate for a Gili T friendship. Tom soon learnt to acknowledge shouts of ‘Hey, fried noodle hair!’ as referring to him – with so many tourists scaling Gili’s street daily they sure had great memories. Never did we walk past a local we’d met the night before and not get recognition.
The woman in this picture (yes, that’s a joint in her mouth, and yes, that’s a bottle on her head), was a particular character. Literally known by most travellers as ‘the crazy lady’ (not to be confused with me, of course), wandered the circuit every night, having nonsensical conversations, dancing by herself, and generally being high. When our friend wouldn’t dance with her, he got a slap round the face. Although perhaps her violence shouldn’t be condoned, it was taken as another hilarious move from the crazy lady on Gili T. And a lesson to never decline a dance with her.
Another group we met were these guys. Still random, still hilarious, still hard to explain…
Boys who LOVED playing with Tom’s fried noodle hair, and to mop my SUL (it was humid, okay??). On this particular night I don’t think we even made it to the bar, so content were they with giving us weird mini-dreads which took hours to untangle the next day. It didn’t help that one of them had a guitar, and after Tom had been without one for a couple of months he was always keen to steal it away for a quick song. But again, this would quickly turn into a ten-strong band of Gili boys and backpackers alike, drumming and singing along with any plastic lid or stick they could find. There is literally NEVER a dull night on Gili T.